Nearly four times as many Ohioans picked a health insurance plan through HealthCare.gov in November than in October, but state and national signup totals continue to lag the government’s original forecasts.
New data released by the federal government this week show that 5,672 Ohioans had chosen a plan through healthcare.gov through the end of November, up from 1,150 as of Nov. 2.
The federal government had forecast in an internal memo that 13,300 Ohioans would sign up in October, the first month that HealthCare.gov was operational. That website, however, was plagued with problems in the weeks following its Oct. 1 launch.
The data released today do not include people who picked health plans so far this month, after several fixes were made to the website.
“The HealthCare.gov website is night and day from where it was on Oct. 1,” Michael Hash, director of the Office of Health Reform at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services told reporters during a conference call.
“The majority of users are now able to move smoothly through the application process.”
Plan selection in states that are running their own marketplaces continues to outpace that in Ohio and 35 other states that are relying on the federal website HealthCare.gov.
Through the end of November, 227,478 U.S. residents had selected plans through state-based marketplaces, compared to 137,204 in states relying on the federally run marketplace. That total of 364,682 at the end of November is up from 106,185 as of Nov. 2.
The total number of Ohioans deemed to be eligible for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program rose from 7,535 to 9,231 during November. Nearly 38 percent of the 72,784 Ohioans found to be eligible to enroll in a marketplace plan are eligible for financial assistance.
Open enrollment runs through March 31. People who want coverage that takes effect by Jan. 1 must sign up by Dec. 23.
By Ben Sutherly - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)
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